MOSCOW BLOG: Primary rehearsal

Andras Toth-Czifra in New York June 6, 2021

The governing United Russia Party held its “primaries” in the last week of May. The votes were tallied and a party congress will, on June 19, approve a list of candidates for the September Duma elections.

bneGREEN: Coal bandits

bne IntelliNews June 4, 2021

The IEA has said that the road to net zero by 2050 is “narrow but still achievable,” so long as there is no more investment in new coal projects, in order to limit global warming to 1.5C.

Russia to reduce its dollar holdings in its NWF rainy day fund to zero

bne IntelliNews June 4, 2021

Russia will entirely remove the dollar from the basket of currencies in its National Welfare Fund (NWF) as the Kremlin’s drive to de-dollarise continues to gather momentum.

Russia’s independent VTimes shuts down after being branded a “foreign agent” by the Kremlin

bne IntelliNews June 4, 2021

The well respected and widely read VTimes independent news service announced its closure on June 3 after the Justice Ministry designated it as a “foreign agent” last month, the latest in a string of independent news organisations to be attacked.

Russia overcoming Sputnik V production bottlenecks, output capacity rises to 30mn doses a month

bne IntelliNews June 4, 2021

Russia is starting to overcome production bottlenecks of its Sputnik V coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine as output capacity tops 30mn doses a month.

Protasevich appears on state TV interview and praises Lukashenko’s “balls of steel”

bne IntelliNews June 4, 2021

Jailed top Belarusian opposition journalist Roman Protasevich appeared in an interview on state TV where he praised Belarus' President Alexander Lukashenko and said that he has “balls of steel” on June 3.

bneGREEN: Surging iron prices are driving up carbon costs for the producers

bne IntelliNews June 3, 2021

Iron prices have surged to nine-year highs in the post-COVID commodities boom that got underway at the end of last year, but that is now pushing up the cost of carbon for producers and eating into their profits.

Belarus' economy will collapse without Russia's help

Ben Aris in Berlin June 3, 2021

Everyone in the world had a terrible 2020, ravaged by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and hurt by multiple economic shocks, including a collapse in the oil price last March. But Belarus had it worse.

Private labels expand in Russian food retailer, large upside seen

bne IntelliNews June 2, 2021

The sales of goods under own private labels by Russian retailers have risen by 12.2% year on year in May-April 2021, reaching 5.3% share in total sales.

Russia is back in the Mediterranean and it is there to stay

Ben Aris in Berlin June 2, 2021

Russia is back as a military force and in the last 15 years it has pushed to re-establish itself in the Mediterranean, with unexpected success.

Russia’s manufacturing PMI up to 51.9 in May, highest level in over a year

bne IntelliNews June 1, 2021

The headline seasonally adjusted IHS Markit Russia Manufacturing PMI registered 51.9 in May, up from 50.4 in April, its strongest improvement since March 2019, Markit said in a press release on June 1.

Russia’s gross international reserves tops $600bn for the first time ever

bne IntelliNews June 1, 2021

Russia’s gross international reserves (GIR) posted $600.9bn in May, its highest level ever, and $2bn more than the previous all time high set in August 2008, just before the global financial crisis hit.

Russian e-commerce recorded one of the world’s highest growth rates in 2020

Adrien Henni in Moscow for East West Digital News June 1, 2021

Russian e-commerce domestic sales of physical goods amounted to RUB2.7 trillion (some $37bn at the average exchange rate of the year), up 58% from 2019 – placing Russia among the world’s fastest-growing e-commerce markets.

Russian-founded food delivery services make their way in western markets

East West Digital News in Moscow June 1, 2021

In this second coronavirus spring, Russian-founded food delivery services are making their way in western countries. One of them is, a German fresh product retail and delivery company launched in 2020.

Belarus to try Russian national and opposition journalist’s girlfriend Sofia Sapega on organising mass unrest charges

bne IntelliNews June 1, 2021

Sofia Sapega, the girlfriend of Belarusian opposition journalist Roman Protasevich who was arrested after a Ryanair flight was forced to land in Minsk last week, will be tried on inciting hatred and organising mass rally charges.

Deputy PM claims Russian metals majors owe $1.4bn in investment

bne IntelliNews June 1, 2021

Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov claimed that Russian metals majors have "cheated" the state for RUB100bn ($1.4bn) worth of capital investments and state military orders in an interview to RBC business portal.

Russia addressing ‘growing Central Asia security concerns’

bne IntelIiNews May 31, 2021

Kremlin takes stock of serious border clash between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan and bracing of region for Taliban reaction to pullout of US troops from Afghanistan by September.

STOLYPIN: The challenges of targeting Minsk and doing more harm than good

Mark Galeotti May 31, 2021

Will the West end up saving Alexander Lukashenko by its eagerness to target Vladimir Putin? Will it force a Belarus-Russian Anschluss that no one – not Europe, not Moscow, not Minsk – really wants?

Lukashenko boxes Putin into a show of support in face of harsh EU sanctions over forced landing of Ryanair flight

Ben Aris in Berlin May 31, 2021

Russian President Vladimir Putin has been pushed into giving support to Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko over the Ryanair flight affair.

Russian banks earn strongest profits in five years over 4M21

bne IntelliNews May 30, 2021

The Russian banking sector is having its most profitable year in the last five years. It has continued to follow the course of 2019, the first year of strong growth since 2014, and the outlook is rosy.